In their book “Kinderernährung – Expertenwissen für den Alltag” (German only), Swiss nutrition experts Dr George Marx and Andrea Mathis give a comprehensive overview of the wide-ranging and often controversial topic of child nutrition. We translated a selection of their insights and publish their findings on this blog to make them available to a wider audience. Please find the links to further posts of this series at the end of this contribution.

Renowned scientists such as Robert Lustig, a pediatrician and professor for neuroendocrinology at the University of California in San Francisco, have spent much time addressing the subject of sugar. In his book “Fat Chance. Beating the Odds against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease” he discusses the scientific aspects of sugar consumption by children and adolescents, describes connections between sugar consumption and overweight, and explains scientifically based facts.

Yet how dangerous is sugar really? Should we make our children’s diets as low-sugar as possible or even sugar-free? Is sugar as dangerous as alcohol or nicotine? How much sugar is even healthy? We answer the five most important questions about sugar in children’s diets.


Photo: Nadja Lenherr

Photo: Nadja Lenherr


How soon can my child eat sugar and how much?

Up to the age of six months, an infant should not have any free sugar at all. Up to the age of twelve months, foods with added sugar should also be avoided, whenever possible. It should be ensured that only 10% of the daily total energy supply comes from free sugar.

Is there evidence that the consumption of sweetened foods leads to increased restlessness or activity?

No, at present there are not enough data to make reliable statements. The studies are to some extent contradictory. However, many parents of children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) report that they see a clearly positive effect when their children consume less sugar.

Is the consumption of small amounts of sweets necessarily unhealthy?

No, small amounts in moderation are allowed to have a place in a balanced, healthy, varied diet.

Are fruit juices good for my child?

Adults may consume one serving of fruit per day in the form of unsweetened fruit juice; this corresponds to approximately 120 g fruit or 2 dl.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a maximum of 110 ml unsweetened fruit juice per day for children aged one to three years and 110 to 170 ml unsweetened fruit juice per day for children aged four to six years. The recommendation is clear: “Eat fruit, don’t drink it.”

Is honey healthier than sugar?

Yes, honey is healthier than sugar.


Please feel free to download this tasty, healthy and easy-to-prepare recipe which will soon be a favorite of your children!

Please check out the other posts of our series here:


Dr. med. George MarxAndrea Mathis, BSc in Nutrition and Dietetics
Kinderernährung – Expertenwissen für den Alltag

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